Cup & Plate Disappointment for New Milton (T&D)
New Milton A had made it through to the final of the Annual Times & Directory Handicap Cup and the C team had got through to the semi-finals of the Plate competition, both against sides from the Merton Club. The A team (Umit Kaya, Steve Hemmings and Phil Handy) were hoping to make it third time lucky as they had come runners-up in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as they lost 3-5 against fellow Premier team Merton A comprising Patrick Hurley (+7), Mark Butler (+2) and Mark Smith (+8).
Handy playing off +6 kept his team in the match with a terrific hat-trick against very stiff operation, but Kaya (+8) and Hemmings (+6) weren’t able to add to the tally. Kaya came the closer as he just lost to Butler 14-31, 31-26, 29-31 in the fourth match and the pressure was really on in the eighth end as he took on Smith to save the match. Playing off identical handicaps, it was a really tight match but Kaya just tantalisingly lost out 29-31, 29-31.
The C team of Dave Cuddon, Malcolm Floyd & Svet Ignatov (pictured below) were told some days before the match that their opposition Merton G (Div 3) were only able to field two players in their semi-final of the Plate competition. This meant that Milton (Div 2) only had to win two of their matches on the night to go through to the Final, and it got off to a really good start as Ignatov (playing off +16) beat Paul Nelson (+17) in the first match 31-29, 31-29. With the Final only one win away, the wheels then fell off the wagon as Milton lost the next four matches which made it level at 4-4. The pressure was on Floyd (+14) as he took on Ray Davis (+17) and was blown away in the first end to lose 20-31, but recovered to win the second 31-21 to set up a nail-biting finale. Floyd defended doggedly but was often caught out by Davis’s powerful attack on both wings to lose 28-31. So near yet so far!
Merton A (Premier) 5 New Milton A (Premier) 3
Umit Kaya (+8) 0, Steve Hemmings (+6) 0, Phil Handy (+6) 3.
Merton G (Div 3) 5 New Milton C (Div 2) 4
Svet Ignatov (+16) 1, Dave Cuddon (+15) 0, Malcolm Floyd (+14) 0.
NB: Merton G only had two players.